Sunday, February 13, 2005

Mahabhallipuram and Shore Temple

So a group of us from KYM decided on a daytrip to Mahabhallipuram, meaning another early start. Colin had a bit of a dodgy tum and we were under the misapprehension that it was a 3 hour journey, so he decided against the possibility of putting himself in a well, em, 'difficult' situation. It was only an hour and a half but it think he made the right decision in the end.

On the bus, Jasna's International Penguin made its first appearance. It was originally destined to make a visit to the Andaman Islands with her husband, but the tsunami put an end to that plan. Now he is touring with Jasna, being photographed wherever he goes.

Our arrival at Mahabs brought my first REAL experience with touts. Selling everything from sandals to stone carvings to guiding services, they pestered us constantly from the moment we stepped off the bus. I must admit they soon got the message from me. My approach went something like this.

"Buy elephant."

"Oh no, I've got waaaay too many elephants."

"Not like this, good quality, elephant inside elephant."

"Do you have any idea how much these things eat? Right now there are a dozen elephants stomping about my back garden and I just can't afford another one."

(Puzzled look, a sure sign that I'm winning)

"And the noise!!! Do you have any idea how much noise htese things make? Then you fall out with the neighbours, who keep calling the police, you can't sleep for all that trump-trump-trump, so you're rubbish at your job, then you get fired. And you want me to buy another one!"

At this point he decides (realises) I am mad and leaves me alone.

Sylvia had another tactic that worked, well, beautifully. You just have to totally ignore everything that they shove in your face, at the time yelling you, "Beeeeeeeaaaauuuuuuuuuutiiiiiiiiifuuuuuuuuullllllll!"

Repeat this a couple of dozen times and they move away. If you have a dozen foreigners all wailing it at the top of their voice, after a few minutes' appreciation of something new, it seems to have the same efffect on touts as the aforementioned tsunami. Understandably, this has now become something of a catchphrase on our course.

So on we moved to Shore Temple (which, strangely enough, is an old ruined temple down by, yes you guessed it, the shore).

Now don't get me wrong, Shore Temple was pretty nice - I just expected it to be a mite bigger. It takes a few minutes to walk around, and I have to say a bit on the inside smells like it's been used as a public convenience. The carvings were slightly disappointing, but I guess it's more than a couple of years old so it can be forgiven for the decay.

Besides, it makes a great backdrop for a photo, so they are, Team KYM in full effect:

Back Row (L to R): Claudia (Chile), Vanessa (Argentina), Jasna (Slovenia via Sweden), Alessandra (Italy), Pedro (Spain or Turkey or wherever takes his fancy), Sylvia (NY NY), Edgar (Costa Rica and Cuba).

Front Row: Antonio (Costa Rica), Lili (Argentina), Rosa and Ana (Portugal).